Six women’s ice hockey Buckeyes headed to Beijing
Incoming, current and former team members representing 5 countries in Winter Olympics
Feb. 9 update: Following four games of preliminary round action from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, all six Ohio State women’s hockey players at the games are moving on to the quarterfinals. Learn more at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
When the first women’s ice hockey games begin at the Winter Olympics on Feb. 3, five countries will have Buckeyes on their teams. The team rosters for Canada, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden and the United States will be bolstered by the participation of Emma Maltais and Natalie Spooner, Andrea Braendli, Minttu Tuominen, Sofie Lundin, and Jincy Dunne, respectively.
This is the first time that two Buckeyes will play for Team Canada. Spooner is a 2012 graduate and the only player to score 100 goals while at Ohio State. She remains the program’s leading scorer. Beijing will mark Spooner’s third winter games. She has a gold medal from 2014 and a silver from 2018.
Joining her on Team Canada is Maltais, a 2021 graduate. This will be her first Olympics.
“It still does not feel real that I will be headed to the Olympic Games,” Maltais said. “I am so honored to be selected to this team and I am really excited I get to share this moment with an amazing group of people. I would not be anywhere close to this point if it wasn’t for The Ohio State University and my Buckeye family. I am so grateful to be a Buckeye and so excited that my dream of being an Olympian has come true.”
Maltais also brings an impressive scoring record. She holds the Ohio State title for single-season points (59) and assists (40), both of which were reached during the 2019-2020 season.
Maltais’ teammate Andrea Braendli is returning for her second Olympic games, this time as Switzerland’s starting goaltender.
“Andrea is an incredibly talented player and has made her mark in collegiate hockey, being arguably one of the best in the NCAA,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “Her elite status is driven by her experience both internationally and in playing for Ohio State and in the WCHA. When she came back from the 2021 World Championships, she was on fire, so we are excited to see what she accomplishes at the Olympics.”
The program’s winningest goaltender, Braendli has 56 wins under her belt. Her hot streak has continued into this season: She has a .924 save percentage, among the best in the nation.
Minttu Tuominen is another returning Buckeye Olympian. Beijing will be the Finnish player’s fourth winter games; she has bronze medals from 2010 and 2018. She is second in Olympic appearances by a Buckeye.
“Minttu’s selection to her fourth Olympic team shows just how hard she works,” Muzerall said. “She is an incredible player and we are so proud to have her representing Ohio State at the Olympics. Minttu has been a role model for many of our players, being an example for what they can achieve if they’re willing to work for it.”
A Buckeye from 2009-2013, Tuominen played in 124 games and recorded 16 goals and 33 assists.
Sofie Lundin signed a letter of intent with Ohio State last fall. Before she becomes a Buckeye, the Helsingborg native will represent Sweden on the country’s national team.
“We are so proud of Sofie for making Sweden’s Olympic team,” Muzerall said. “I have been watching her grow for the last five years into such a mature player with so much natural talent. She has played with some of the best players not only in Sweden, but in the world, and will represent her country well as this has been a lifelong dream of hers.”
Rounding out the Buckeyes at this year’s Olympics is Jincy Dunne, who is one of eight first-timers on the United States’ team. Dunne graduated from Ohio State in 2019 but not before she accumulated a number of honors, making her one of the more decorated players in the women’s ice hockey program’s history.
Dunne was Ohio State’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2020 and a Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient. She was also team captain for four of her five seasons as a Buckeye and tied for third in the university’s records with 99 points as a defensive player.
“I am so happy for Jincy on making the Olympic roster,” said senior defenseman Sofie Jaques. “I know this is something she’s been dreaming about her whole life and with all the work she’s put in over the years on and off the ice, she deserves it more that anyone I know.”
All six players know that representing their home countries on the world stage is a tremendous honor. But, as Braendli noted last month, representing Buckeye Nation is an accomplishment of its own.
“It means the world to me. I want to show who I am as a Buckeye and as a Swiss national team member. I want to show what this program gave to me in the past four years,” she said. “I grew a lot and I feel like coming here, to play for Ohio State, was the best decision I could ever make. I want to show to everyone that I’m really proud to be a Buckeye.”
Also representing Ohio State in Beijing is Matt Tomkins, who played on the men’s ice hockey team from 2014-2017. The Buckeye alum joins Team Canada as a goalie.